Album Reviews

Night Verses – From the Gallery of Sleep (2018)

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                                                Night Verses’ Bandcamp – From the Gallery of Sleep

Back to an instrumental trio Night Verses have released album number three, what is the result of three years is the recording studio? Nothing can be guaranteed but one would be foolish in thinking that it was not going to be technically sound, Herrera, Improta and DePirro yet again display that they are true masters of their respective craft.

Trading Shadows like a lot of this album it is fluid, seamlessly moving from calm still waters to blasting storms, it’s so engaging with many layers to unpack, smooth bass, reverbed guitar, picking up pace and cranking the brilliance up far beyond 11, flying by before you know it is ending. For a song as long as this (6:31) to be so easy to listen to like the best radio hits, only boosts the level of respect the three men garner.

Lira is one of the shorter songs at 3:30 (a radio friendly length, one can hope it gets a wider release and may hit the airways before a 10pm show other than the big rock/metal or alternative shows). It is here as well as on Harmonic Sleep Enginea segment in the fourth instalment to the Phoenix saga were picked acoustic guitar shimmer adding another facet to the ever growing, ever expanding sonic universe Night Verses venture through, the cosmos has always been a theme for the band being present on this album to.

One of the most diverse and interesting tracks on From the Gallery of Sleep is No Moon beginning with Space Race era sounding spoken recordings that are placed at various points on the album (see in the first part of Copper Wasp, the relentless Vice Wave with that top choppy bass playing, hats off to Herrera for the umpteenth time). It ends on a similar ambient backing as it began, but adds vocals akin to those found in an idyllic dream sequences born from the mind of Darren Aronofsky and would be fitting of being played over a scene from Requiem for a Dream (2000) or The Fountain (2006).

Frantic No. 0‘s introduction was one of the snippets released as a tantalising taste for what was to come, it is so compact with lighting quick playing that it demands focus from the listener, if you heard this in pacing it would draw you in, overcome by intrigue in its ferocity. Bolboa then slows everything down again with its digital percussion/ electronic synths (spacey and ethereal whenever used) leading the way, highlighting that the balance of these moments along with pacing of the record is just right, mid-to-late sections swaps from harder tracks with the more reserved ones, mirroring sleeping patterns, some nights you have the soundest of rests others not so much. Furthermore those dreams/nightmares that are the most varied are in turn the most memorable, applying that to this record was risky as it could have come out as a disjointed experience, but with these three behind the controls it is confident and succinct. Never running too long or dwelling on one extravagant part, as this would be both threaten to become tiresome and self indulgent a flaw some instrumental bands run into.

A personal change for me would be to swap the final songs around, and of course give the ending of Infinity Beach to Phoenix IV: Levitation as it carries the habit of having the beginning of the first track on the prior album/extended play becoming the ending of the following release, Out of the Sky’s From the Shadows Where I’m Low’s opening drum beats end Lift Your Existence’s Phoenix 1: Rising II: Falling, Introducing: Rot Under the Sun’s wailing guitar finishes Phoenix III: Into the Vanishing Light (off the album of the same name). I love the fact they do that what a nice little detail. But that is the slightest of gripes for me.

One of the many strong aspects to Night Verses is how all members of the band are heard (credit to producer Will Putney for his part in this album, stellar work), they all get equal footing, they always have, making a complete sound, a representation of the band and not one leading member. All great instrumental music shares this quality including this one.

A universal sign for happiness is someone’s natural smile, one that cannot be helped, avoided or resisted. Anything that can bring one of those smiles is in my opinion special; From the Gallery of Sleep does indeed bring one of those smiles. It is an ever moving harmonic beauty.